Popotan

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The Popotan sisters.

Popotan is a 2003 12 episode anime by Studio Shaft based on the H-game of the same name. The story is about three sisters and their not-quite human maid Mea who live in a mysterious mansion/Christmas shop that hopscotches through space and time on a mystical quest guided by magical flowers. Notable for being both explicitly sexy and extremely cutesy at the same time. The H-game version is an adult visual novel that covers much more material and characters.

The anime has a plotline that is completely unrelated to the game, with most episodes focusing on one of the three sisters (Ai, Mai and Mii) as they travel to various places and times in search of the eponymous "Popotan" which just happen to look exactly like ordinary dandelions ("tanpopo") in spite of their magical properties. See Japanese Honorifics to see why any anime show with '-tan' at the end is guaranteed cuteness.

Although the show is mostly a comedy, the overall tone varies from tearjerking to heartwarming. Of course, that doesn't stop the show from including panty and boob shots wherever it can. Add in the loli-appeal provided by Mii and the sometimes heart-wrenching effects the relentless transpositions have on Mai and it can make for a bit of a Mood Dissonance at times.

Popotan gained additional notoriety in the West in 2006 via Memetic Mutation in the form of a Caramelldansen Vid based upon the original game. However, it had already been released on DVD by Geneon USA in late 2004 and early 2005, and had been available fansubbed in English before that. The decision by Sentai Filmworks to re-release the series in 2007 may have been influenced by the increased memetic attention.

While Popotan is essentially the Japanese name for dandelion (Tanpopo) said backwards, the English equivalent ("liondandy") is never actually used in the dub, perhaps because it would conflict with the already well-known series title.


Tropes used in Popotan include:
  • A Day in the Limelight -- Roughly speaking, episodes 1 and 7 focus mostly on Ai, while episodes 2 and 9, 3 and 8 and 4 and 10 do the same for Mai, Mii and Mea respectively. Other episodes are about their journey as a whole.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head -- Given to Mii by Mai once.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress -- When Mii partakes in the below mentioned Beauty Contest, she wears what can only be described as a sexed-up version of her Magical Girl costume.
  • Airplane Arms -- Mii in the last episode.
  • All of the Other Reindeer -- Subverted. This is assumed to be the case with the younger Mai and her class from episode 9, but it is later shown that the only reason some of her classmates avoided talking to her was because she wouldn't let them.
  • Alternate Continuity -- The anime removes the main character, the villains, one of the girls and the porn, and puts the remaining characters in a completely different story.
  • An Aesop -- See Deconstruction/Reconstruction.
  • And the Adventure Continues... -- How the series ends: the sisters continue their time travel with Mea and Unagi, preferring to stay together rather than living normally.
  • Angrish -- What Mai is reduced to uttering when the dandelion from episode 5 wants her to play ping-pong with Mea. That is to say, after having competed in a Beauty Contest (and lost to all other members of the household), visited far more hot springs than healthy, and already played and won a game against Ai, all in order to receive some more information about a journey she wants to end as soon as possible.
  • The Anime of the Game
  • Another Dimension -- The residence of Shizuku.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap -- Delievered twice, once from Ai to Keith, two episodes later from Mai to Konami's daughter Mai.
  • Art Shift/Mood Lighting -- The show's color palette gets a noticable reddish/orange tint during certain scenes. Mostly, it signifies that something serious or sad is about to happen.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror -- Yes, the creators of Popotan were well aware of the effects the sisters' journey could have on the friends they leave behind. This is revealed in episode 9.
  • Aside Glance -- How Mai reacts to Ai and Mii's follies in episode 3.
  • Back From the Dead -- Konami in episode 12, due to time travel.
  • Badass Boast -- Keith reminds Mea that he defeated her rather soundly in episode 7 before they fight again.
  • Bathtub Bonding -- Mai and Konami's daughter. This being Popotan, it leads to...
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy -- Somewhat subverted, as the girls have visible nipples.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For -- When Mai is allowed to leave her journey and live with Konami like she wanted, it ends up causing her just as much misery as before; it's partly because she's been separated from her family, and partly because Konami keeps bringing up the past.
  • Beach Episode -- Part of episode 7. The girls only sell ice cream, but they do wear bathing suits.
  • Beat -- Used in episode 2, right before Mai realizes that Mii is about to jump into the bathtub with Daichi.
  • Beauty Contest -- The sisters and Mea partake in one at the request of a specific dandelion with information about their journey. Mii wins, Mai ends up last.
  • Because Your Mother Was Nice to Me -- Mai's reason for trying to befriend (and later helping) Konami's daughter.
  • Big Fancy House -- The sisters' mansion certainly qualify.
  • Big "Shut Up!" -- Ai gives Keith a Big "Get Out of My House!" in the last episode, but it's used with the same intention.
  • Bittersweet Ending/Earn Your Happy Ending -- After twelve episodes of sacrificing their social lives for the search for Shizuku and intense discussions about whether they actually should do so, the girls realize that they will not be truly happy unless they continue travelling together anyway. The series definitely ends more happily than tragically, but the journey leading up to it is not exactly easy.
  • Bland-Name Product -- Daichi's camera is a "Mikon".
  • Bleached Underpants -- While the anime is fairly explicit (nudity and panty shots), it doesn't contain any sex scenes like in the visual novel. It also includes a serious plot unlike the game.
  • Blessed with Suck -- Time travel. It forces the sisters to abandon whatever friendships they manage to build in order to jump further in time.
  • Book Ends -- Episode 2 ends the same way it begins, with Mai waking up her sisters and Mea being annoyed at their loudness.
  • Break the Cutie -- Mai goes through a lot. The final straw for her is Konami's death. For Mii, it's Mai leaving her and Ai in episode 11.
  • Break-Up Bonfire -- Happens two times in episode 10. Neither of them are the results of break-ups, but the point remains the same.
    • Mai burns the painting of her she received from Konami once she discovers that she died waiting for her. Mea manages to stop her.
    • Mea's previous household did this to their house after becoming disillusioned with their journey. Mea was not as successful this time.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall -- Mea. Most noticeable in episode 5 (she turns to the camera, advising the audience to avoid excessive bathing).
  • Breather Episode -- Episode 8, compared to those surrounding it.
  • Broken Pedestal -- Konami dies before Mai can come back to visit her, making her daughter Mai hate both her namesake and her name itself. She implies that Konami felt the same way.
    • Rebuilt Pedestal -- Once Mai has the chance to go back to when they were the same age, she makes sure this will not happen before she leaves again. The younger Mai is seen in the last episode as an adult with no resentments, so apparently it worked.
  • Brought Down to Normal -- Once the sisters stop time travelling, Ai can no longer talk to plants. One can assume the same holds true for her siblings.
  • Bus Crash -- Konami dies between episodes 2 and 9 after Mai leaves her time period.
    • The Bus Came Back -- Konami. Yes, from the dead. Other characters include Daichi, Nono and Keith.
  • Butt Biter -- When Mii thinks that Mai is being harassed (see Imagine Spot), her method of attack is to bite one of the girl's behind.
  • Call a Dandelion a "Popotan"
  • Call Back -- Mai trying to become friends with the other Mai mirrors Konami doing the same to her in an earlier episode. The first time they walk home together, they're even in the same positions.
  • Calling Your Attacks -- Mai uses a ping-pong move in episode 5 that she shouts the name of beforehand. She has to use it again later, so she subsequently adds "once more!" to its name.
  • Cassandra Truth -- Keith's warnings to Mai that befriending others will only hurt them in the end falls on deaf ears. However, while he is right to a certain extent, it's not as much a Cassandra Truth as it is a Cassandra Possibilty.
  • The Cast Showoff -- On a meta level: Mii's voice actress, Halko Momoi, is also a singer. She sings the opening theme.
  • Central Theme -- See Deconstruction/Reconstruction.
  • Cerebus Syndrome -- Who would've thought that a series that began with a boy getting stuck in an older woman's bust would later on have one of the protagonists' best friend die before they could say goodbye?
  • Christmas Episode -- Episode 8.
  • Cliff Hanger -- Episodes 5 (where the mansion leaves Mai and Mea behind when hopping through time) and 10 (where Keith takes control over the house, leading it to Shizuku).
  • Clothing Damage -- Mea's clothes are torn off by an energy attack from the ghost girl of episode 4.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience/Good Colors, Evil Colors -- The sisters glow green when they use their powers, while Keith is red. It might be because he's male, or he's using another source altogether.
  • Comically Missing the Point -- The reason for Ai's "Silly Me" Gesture mentioned below.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu -- Keith has an easier time defeating Mea, Mai and Daichi than when facing Mea alone.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment -- The punishment for the girls that bullied the younger Mai in episode 9 is "divine retribution" (a severe beating) by the hands of Mii in Magical Girl mode.
  • Cool House -- It can hop through time and space and has a Christmas shop!
  • Cosmic Retcon -- Near the end, Shizuku allows the sisters to return back in time, effectively allowing Mai to undo Konami's tragic death.
  • Creepy Child -- The girl from episode 4. She later turns out to be more than just creepy.
  • Cry Into Chest -- Happens thrice with Mai, with Ai being the recipient all three times.
  • Curb Stomp Battle -- Keith takes on Daichi, Mai and Mea without much resistance. His second fight with Mea looks like it will end this way, but she manages to (briefly) defeat him.
  • Cute Is Evil -- The girl from episode 4, who entraps people in their dreams so that they will not leave her. In Mii's case, it's more Cute is Unintentionally Perverted.
  • Cuteness Proximity -- Whenever Mii sees something "plushy", she immediately clings to it. Including her sisters' breasts. Including a cow's udders.
  • Dancing Theme -- Performed by dandelions. One of them is out of sync with the others almost throughout the whole song.
  • Darkest Hour -- As dark as Popotan can get, anyway: episode 11, where the sisters end up leaving the house one by one to live elsewhere.
  • Dead All Along -- Happens two times, but in very different ways:
    • In episode 4, the girl who asks Mea to repair her doll is later revealed to be a ghost.
    • In episode 9, Mai learns that Konami died long before she could come back to see her again.
  • Death by Adaptation -- Konami does not die in the game, but she does in the anime. On the flipside, she never gets raped in the anime while she does in the game, so she is technically Spared by the Adaption as well, just from a different fate altogether.
  • Death by Despair -- Konami, to hear her daughter Mai tell it.
  • Deconstruction/Reconstruction -- Of moving away from one's friends. An already tough part of life is presented in more detail than most people go through; however, the overall message of the series is that while it's a part of life one can't run away from without further hardships, it doesn't have to be as difficult as one makes it out to be.
  • Demoted to Non-Existant -- Chris, Claude and Kokoa (the Player Character, the main antagonist and one of the romance options respectively) appear only in the visual novel. Even the police officer from the game had at least a cameo.
  • Denouement -- Right after the main conflict of how the girls should proceed with their lives is resolved, the story cuts back to the younger Mai and Daisuke talking about them. Then a mansion suddenly appears before them...
  • Despair Event Horizon -- Mai, when Konami dies.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • Ai talking her sleep, see below.
    • Mii meeting Miyuki's father. It's later shown that the reason he was so happy to see her was because she could potentially cheer up his daughter, but the way he holds her and screams with joy makes it seem like he has seriously different intentions.
  • Don't Split Us Up -- When the sisters are given the chance to return to the time period they enjoyed the most, Mii cites this as a reason not to do it.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me! -- When the younger Mai's sketchbook gets stolen, this is her initial stance on the subject. The older Mai sets her straight.
  • The Door Slams You -- Happens twice to Daichi in the first episode.
  • Downer Ending -- Episode 9. It ends with Mai realizing that Konami has died waiting for their reunion, and her reaction to the news.
  • Drama Bomb -- If episode 6 doesn't count, then episode 9 absolutely does.
  • Dramatic Thunder -- After Mea (almost) defeats Keith.
  • Driving Question -- "Who are we looking for?", and later "What does this person want with us?". As for the answers, see It's the Journey That Counts.
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time? -- Episode 8 really busts this out with Nono, though every episode takes place in a Christmas store.
  • Dope Slap -- Mai uses the noogie version on Mii often, although it's more because she finds her annoying rather than stupid.
  • Dynamic Entry -- Episode 3 has Mii enter the scene by smashing into Ai and Mai.
  • Ecchi
  • (Emotionally) Tongue-Tied -- The only thing that prevents the sisters from telling others of their journey is essentially their own commitment. However, while they can and do intentionally blow their cover, Keith's actions in episode 7 imply that those in control of the girls' travels would also rather keep it a secret.
  • Empathic Environment -- When Mai is told that Konami has died in episode 9 and when she leaves the others in episode 11, it conveniently starts to rain.
  • Enfant Terrible -- The little girl from episode 4, see Lotus Eater Machine.
  • Enhanced on DVD -- The DVD version has significantly improved artwork.
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Establishing Series Moment -- Mai and Konami arguing and later reuniting near the end of episode 2 gives a somewhat clear picture of how the anime will play out thematically. What it doesn't show is that things are soon to become much more tragic.
  • Every Episode Ending -- Almost all episodes end with the mansion disappearing, sometimes in the exact same way.
  • Everyone Gets Their Turn -- The anime generally averts this, but there is a noticable case at the very end: the final lines are equally divided between Ai, Mai, Mii, Mea, Unagi and all of them at the same time.
  • Evil Laugh
    • Mea gives one while pretending to be a ghost for Daichi's photographs. It manages to creep out the whole household.
    • She's on the receiving end in episode 4, when the ghost of the girl who asked her to repair her doll laughs as Mea sits by her grave. It's not the stereotypical "mua-ha-ha-ha", but it's clearly sinister.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change -- Mai's hair is significantly longer when she meets up with Ai and Mii five years after their house jumped in time without her. In this case, it's actually a wig. It's not said whether she dons it again in the last episode or really does grow it to that length.
  • Expospeak/Info Dump -- Keith shows up in episode 10 to not only shed some light on the sisters' journey, but also on his and Mea's roles regarding it.
  • Eyecatch -- Consists of the characters saying the title of the series. The very last one has the entire cast.
  • Eye Take -- Often done by Mai.
  • Failed a Spot Check -- Ai and Mii walk right past Mai when searching for her and Mea in episode 6, primarily because of her new hair and clothes.
  • Fake Boobs -- The opening has Mai putting pads in her shirt.
  • Fan Service
  • The Fellowship Has Ended -- After they are given the chance to live in specific time periods, the sisters end up separating from each other. They are, however, reunited near the end of the series.
  • First-Name Basis -- Disregarding the fact that we're never told the last name of anyone, Daichi stills talks to Ai using her first name even after she's become the teacher of his class, addressing her as "Ai-sensei".
  • Flash Back -- Quite a few. The most important one is shown in episode 11, where each sister reminisces over the time they spent with the people from earlier in the series.
  • Flipping the Table -- Mii does this in episode 3. Her opponent does the same when he loses to her friend.
  • Flower Motifs -- Take a wild guess at what flower is often seen in this series. The most striking example is the enormous one seen over the house just before it travels through time.
  • For Want of a Nail -- By explaining her situation to Konami, Mai manages to change future Konami's opinion of her, and by proxy Konami's daughter's.
    • In Spite of a Nail -- It's the only thing that ever changes during the sisters' time hopping. Daichi still marries Asuka, Konami still has a daughter named Mai, and so on.
  • Friendship Moment -- Several between Mai and Konami, Mai and Konami's daughter Mai as well as the sisters themselves.
  • Full-Body Disguise -- When escaping from a police officer in episode 6, Ai and Mii dress up in what appears to be mascot costumes in order to fool him.
    • Paper-Thin Disguise -- ...while Unagi is clearly peeking out from underneath Ai's headwear. And they're still of the same heights as before.
  • Furo Scene -- Every single episode. Even Unagi comments on it. In the Hot Springs Episode, the girls spent nearly an entire day just traveling from one furo to another.
  • Genre Shift -- The show starts out comedic with clear hints of drama, but shifts focus about halfway through. The last two episodes are purely drama.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!-- Mai's response to the younger Mai's angry insistance on not receiving help after her sketchbook disappears is a resolute slap in the face.
  • Ghost Town -- The sisters visit one in episode 4; the girl Mea meets while they are away claims to live in it. She's a ghost herself.
  • Godiva Hair -- Ai in the trailer.
  • Gratuitous English -- The opening song of the anime: Ai Ai Ai, "Ai" love you, Mai Mai Mai, "Mai" darling, Mii Mii Mii, help "Mii", Popotan!
    • Also used by Mai when she defeats Mea at table tennis: "I'm the winner!" (which sounds more like "I'm weenah!").
  • Groin Attack -- Mea gives one to Keith. It hits hard.
  • Group Hug -- The three sisters have one when they are reunited at the end of the series.
  • Gut Punch -- Regardless of how emotionally effective it is, Konami's death is clearly meant to be this; the anime is much less light-hearted afterwards.
  • Hairstyle Malfunction -- Happens to Mai. Decidedly not Played for Laughs, and later we find out why.
  • Harsher in Hindsight -- Mai's in-universe view on her friendship with Konami after the latter dies lamenting them not seeing each other again.
  • Haunted House -- What Daichi believes the sisters' home to be before he meets them, and what his classmates believe after he shows them staged photos.
  • He Knows Too Much -- Keith's opinion on Daichi as an adult.
  • Hey, Wait! -- The policeman from episode 6 appears to be fooled by Ai and Mii's disguises. Then he spots Unagi, leading to this trope.
  • Heroic BSOD -- Mai suffers one after she learns that Konami has died waiting for them to see each other again.
  • High-Pressure Blood -- Yes, somehow even this show contains excessive bleeding. When adult Daichi is attacked by Keith, he ends up with a shoulder wound that spills a bit more blood than its size would indicate. Furthermore, it has stopped bleeding by the time Mii heals him; how did he not pass out from blood loss?
  • Hilarity Ensues -- After Ai accidentally spills tea over Konami, she uses the sisters' bathroom to clean herself. Then Mii enters the bathtub, and the situation spirals downwards from there.
  • History Repeats -- Mai's meeting with the younger Mai plays out very similar to her meeting with Konami, except the roles are reversed.
  • Hope Spot -- In episode 10, the sisters are told that their very next time jump will lead them to Shizuku, the one they've been searching for. However, their meeting fails to give them a satisfying conclusion and only worsens their situation.
  • Hot Springs Episode -- Turned up to eleven.
  • Hypocritical Humor -- Mii teasing Mai and Mea for their small busts, given that she is no more shapely than any other girl her age.
  • I Choose to Stay -- Inverted or Played Straight depending on the meaning of "stay": near the end of the series, the sisters are given the choice to either stay in a specific timeline or to continue their travels. They all choose the former, but switch to the latter in the last episode.
  • I Have No Granddaughter -- Nono's grandfather explicitly tells her that she's not welcome back to the shrine after she has helped decorate it with Christmas ornaments. He is later seen checking on her, meaning he obviously regrets it.
  • "I Know What We Can Do!" Cut -- When waiting for Mii's costume to get made, Mai wonders what they should do to spend the time, since there aren't any Popotan around. Ai gets an idea. Cue cut to:

Mai: ...Why are we in the lingerie section?

  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die/It's All My Fault -- Mai blames herself for not coming back to Konami before her death. As such, the tropes are not entirely played straight in that she does not hold herself directly responsible for Konami's death, but rather for what might have lead to it.
  • I Will Wait for You -- Konami and Mai promise each other to meet again. Mai isn't able to keep her end of the bargain.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming -- Most titles consist of a word connected to what happens in the episode (episode 2 has "Friends", episode 11 has " Farewell"). Some episodes' names break this pattern, like episode 6's "I'm Home"
  • Image Song -- Each sister is given one: Ai has "Ai no Sekai" ("Ai's World"), Mai has "Endless Trip", and Mii has "Mahou Shoujo Mii-tan Sanjou!!" ("Magical Girl Mii Appears!!").
  • Imagine Spot -- When following Mai and her new friends in episode 6, Mii wonders what has made Mai decide to disregard their journey and stay in this time period. She then imagines the two other girls making her stay by force for a really petty reason.

Mii: Yes, that is what must have happened!
Unagi: (Dejectedly) Una...

  • Immortal Immaturity -- Since Mai hasn't aged neither physically nor psychologically during her time away from the mansion, her behaviour is less refined than expected from the university student she currently is.
  • Fundamentally Female Cast
  • In Name Only -- The title and most of the characters are pretty much the only things that stay the same between the visual novel and the anime. Even the characters' outfits differ slightly (Mai's shirt has no sleeves in the game while it has long sleeves in the show, for example).
  • Infant Immortality -- Averted: the little girl from episode 4 is a ghost who died at the age of six years.
  • Ironic Echo -- Used in the second fight between Mea and Keith, where they both tell each other to "sleep".
  • Irony -- Of the tragic kind. In episode 9, the younger Mai talks about how Konami was "betrayed" by her high school friend who never returned to her, and how she "doesn't need a friend like that". The friend in question, Mai (the protagonist), has not only become friends with the younger Mai, but is also sitting right in front of her.
  • It's All Junk -- Mai tries to burn the Konami's painting of her after learning of her death, since she can't stand the memories.
  • It's the Journey That Counts/The Un-Reveal -- The purpose and object of the journey are never revealed to the audience or the characters, even after the sisters meet Shizuku.
  • Japanese Sibling Terminology -- Anyone wishing to learn of more than just "oneesan" or oniisan" has a few options here:
    • Ai refers to both of her younger sisters with the suffix "-chan".
    • Mai calls Ai "Ai-nee", but Mii is simply called by her name.
    • Mii uses "Ai-neetan" and "Mai-neetan" ("-tan" being a childish pronunciation of "-san" or "-chan").
  • Kawaisa
  • Kiai -- Mea during ping-pong, of all things.
  • Kick the Dog -- Subverted. Keith's general dickery appears to be just that, but he later explains that he meant it to prepare the sisters for the difficulties they would later face.
  • Kill the Cutie -- Konami, although not permanently.
  • Lame Comeback -- Mai's response to one of Keith's speeches. She basically sticks her tongue out at him.
  • Last-Episode New Character -- In episode 12, Daichi and Asuka's newly introduced second child talks to a grown-up Mai (Konami's daughter) about the sisters.
  • Leave Your Quest Test/Secret Test of Character -- Shizuku gives the sisters a chance to end their journey and go back to the time period they liked the best. The fact that she's still watching over them after this hints at these tropes.
  • Let's Get Dangerous -- Mai and, to a lesser extent, Mea fighting Keith. It's never been stated that either of them can't fight, but they're certainly better at it than one could tell from how the series has played out previously.
  • Limited Wardrobe -- The only time anyone changes clothes in this series is if their normal attire is unsuited for what they're about to do next, e.g. sleep or swim. Special mention, however, must go to Mai: on the two occasions she's actually wearing something other than her normal outfit that isn't swimming or sleeping wear, it just happens to be the exact same clothes.
  • Lonely Piano Piece -- Present in many of the anime's musical pieces.
  • Lost in Translation -- As previously mentioned, a more "correct" translation of Popotan would be "liondandy", making the current title make less sense for viewers who don't know that the Japanese word for "dandelion" is tanpopo.
  • Lotus Eater Machine -- The ghost girl from episode 4 is capable of putting people to permanent sleep, in which they dream about their innermost desires.
  • Love At First Sight -- Ai and Keith fall for each other on the first day they meet. Keith's later malevolence puts an end to their relationship in the same episode it's started.
  • MacGuffin -- The Popotan serve no other purpose than to guide the protagonists to their final destination. For all intents and purposes, they could as well have been roses[1].
  • Marshmallow Hell -- Happens to Daichi within the first two minutes of the first episode to the point where he gets stuck.
  • Meaningful Echo -- While it's not repeated word-for-word, Mai uses similar reasoning to what Keith told her in episode 9 about the nature of the sisters' journey in episode 11
  • Megaton Punch -- Presumably what Keith used on Daichi in order for him to fly out of the house with a severely bleeding shoulder.
  • Miniature Senior Citizen -- Some of the older people in the series, most notably the hot springs visitors in episode 5.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant -- After meeting Konami's daughter who happens to be named after her, Mai asks her sisters if one would usually name their child after someone they dislike. Ai and Mii think she's talking about herself rather than Konami, and promptly ask her who "the other man" is.
  • Mistaken Identity -- In the last episode where Mii is now living with Nono and her grandfather, she sees someone she believes to be Mai. She instantly runs after her, hinting that she, like her sisters, wants to be together with them again.
  • The Merch -- Most of it's from the game, but the anime has its fair share of figurines, art books and desktop decorations.
  • Moment of Silence -- After Mii follows Mai's example and leaves the house, leaving Ai all alone with Unagi.
  • Moment Killer -- Mai and Konami's heart-to-heart in episode 2 is utterly deflated when Ai enters the room with tea.
  • Mood Whiplash -- Several cases, but the biggest example is the difference in tone between episodes 8 and 9. The former is a Christmas Episode; in the latter, Konami is revealed to have passed away.
  • Motivational Kiss -- How Keith tries to cheer up Ai. Happens twice, and both occasions are equally insincere on his part.
  • Muggle Foster Parents -- Inverted. After the sisters more or less adopts Nono, Mai points out that she won't be able to time travel with them, since she isn't part of the original household.
  • Mundane Made Awesome -- The ping-pong matches from the Hot Springs Episode, by means of Slow Motion, special moves and gratuitous shots of Ai's bouncing bosoms.
  • Mundane Utility -- Each sister has a power assumedly meant to help them on their journey. It doesn't stop Mai from using hers (the ability to jump high) to make shortcuts.
  • Musicalis Interruptus -- When Daichi takes a bite of one of Ai's sandwiches, the background music comes to a complete halt.
  • My Greatest Failure -- For Mai, not being able to meet Konami one last time.
  • Myth Arc -- The anime follows the sisters' search for Shizuku.
  • Naked First Impression -- How Daichi meets Ai. She's rather calm about it.
  • Neck Lift -- Due to his Super Strength, Keith is able to do this to adult Daichi.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles -- Of all the dandelions encountered in the series, only some of them have information on where the sisters should go.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye -- Sort of. More like Never Got To Meet Again At All.
  • Never Split the Party -- Doing so will make the sisters unable to age. They're of course also related and only one of them is above high school age, but this seems to be the primary reason.
  • Never Trust a Trailer -- It's more meta than the average example, but it still counts in that the trailer is somewhat misleading. It consists partly of the sisters bathing and lying naked in a dandelion field, and of the female secondary characters in very little clothing. Now, no one is denying that Popotan ups the Fan Service factor more than most shows of its kind, but the actual series does it in a rather different way. While the trailer refrains from showing any of the characters' nipples, it does present the partial nudity in a clearly erotic fashion; the anime is, as noted above, more explicit, but the nudity is mostly presented as innocent or neutral rather than perverted (keyword being "mostly", of course). The trailer gives the impression that the series is a lot more perverse than it actually is.
  • Next Sunday AD -- The anime began airing in 2003, and some episodes take place in what is assumably a few years later than that. Not much has changed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero -- The fact that Mai never came back to see Konami again depressed her greatly until her death, according to her daughter. Mai holds herself responsible for this as well when she hears of it.
  • Nipple-and-Dimed -- A notable aversion, given the nature of the series.
  • No Antagonist -- Keith may seem a bit too happy about what the sisters are going through, but strictly speaking he's not actually causing any trouble, he's only fulfilling his role as a "guide" to them. The story is more about the sisters' struggle itself than what's actually causing it.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished -- Mai accepting Konami's efforts to become friends with her ends up causing Konami to die young and bitter when Mai doesn't return in time like she promised. She also happens to be told this after she has gone through the effort of befriending Konami's daughter.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown -- Keith is not exactly holding back during his fight with Daichi, Mai and Mea.
  • No Periods, Period -- Averted: Mea casually mentions that the reason Mai can't be pregnant is because of her period cycle. Mai is appropriately disgusted by her knowledge of this.
  • No True Scotsman -- According to Mai, she has to partake in bathing at whatever hot springs she comes across since she's Japanese. The real reason is because this particular one is supposed to increase one's bust size.
  • Nonchalant Dodge -- Keith performs a number of these when fighting Mea.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks -- Mai learns this the hard way when she and Mea are left behind for five years when they fail to reach the mansion in time. During this time, she manages to finally have meaningful relationships for more than a few days, but she doesn't age at all, making her seem immature to her friends.
  • Off-Model -- There are some jarring examples of this here and there, especially in episode 10. Thankfully, the series was Enhanced on DVD.
  • Oh Crap -- Mai's reaction to Mii attempting to take a bath with Daichi.
  • "On the Next..." -- Unagi presents most of these. She's occasionally too distracted to do them properly.
  • One-Gender School -- Not one boy is seen at either of the schools Mai goes to in the series. Averted with Daichi's class, where we see children of both sexes.
  • One Steve Limit -- Averted: there are two characters in the series named Mai, one being the inspiration for the other.
  • Only One Name -- We never hear the last name of any character in the series.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different -- For starters, it's involuntary. It's also preceded by a giant dandelion appearing in the sky.
  • Pan-Up-To-The-Sky Ending -- How episode 5 ends.
  • Panty Shot -- Ever so present.
  • Parental Abandonment -- The sisters' parents are never seen. Why they aren't is never shown either.
    • Missing Mom -- Konami, however, is explicitly said to have died by her daughter. Miyuki's mother has also passed away, as explained by her father.
  • Pettanko -- Mai and Mea.
  • Pinky Swear -- Enacted between Mii and her new friend Miyuki in episode 3, by which Mii promises to remain her friend and visit her again. See What Happened to the Mouse? for how that ends.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up -- Subverted. Mai seems to have grown up between episodes 5 and 6 due to not travelling with the rest of her household, but it's later revealed that none of the sisters can age if they're not travelling.
  • Portmanteau -- Daichi and Asuka's second child is named Daisuke.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia -- Daichi, after a First Kiss delivered by Ai.
  • The Power of Friendship -- A large part of the series revolves around the fact that the sisters can never have substantial relationships with others, since they can only stay for a limited time before changing time periods; Mai even attempts to defy the trope. In the end, they come to accept that they can still have fond memories of the people they meet, which helps them continue on their journey.
  • "Previously On..." -- Episode 6 begins by showing how the preceding episode ended.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles -- Two examples, depending on if one's watching the TV version or on DVD:
    • In the former case, starting from episode 6, Ai, Mai and Mea are shown doing the "butt wiggle dance" as well instead of just Mii.
    • In the latter case, they are there from the start, along with Konami, Nono and Shizuku. Daichi got screwed over, apparently.
  • Pun-Based Title -- The name of the show is both an anagram of tanpopo and a pun on the suffix "-tan" (see Japanese Sibling Terminology above).
  • Punched Out of the Room and Landing Several Meters Away From the House -- How Keith deals with Daichi.
  • Puni Plush
  • Putting the Band Back Together -- At the very end of the series, when the sisters realize that they will not be able to live happily unless they continue on their journey with each other, this is precisely what they do.
  • Quivering Eyes -- Mii, after she knocks Mai's wig off in episode 5, revealing that she is unable to age.
  • Reveal Shot -- The audience sees Konami's memorial at the same time as Mai, about half a minute into the scene in which it happens.
  • Right Under Their Noses -- When Ai and Mai are looking for Mii in episode 3, they once miss her walking right past them, simply because a nurse happens to also walk between the three.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory -- All those involved with time travel in the series are shown to have this.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship -- Mai and Konami seem awfully close to each other. In the last episode, Konami even laments the fact that Mai is acting more girly and talks about when she hugged her "like a boy". The fact that their friendship is very strong is kind of the point, but still.
  • Rule of Cute/Rule of Cool -- How to best explain Mii's transformation/magic scenes, including having her hammer appear out of thin air. Most of it is probably her own imagination.
  • Rule of Perception -- After Mai leaves her house, the younger Mai speaks to her dead mother about her new friend, while looking directly at a portrait her mother did of her own best friend from high school. It takes her about five seconds to notice that they are the very same person, which just so happens to be when the viewer sees whom the painting is of. One must wonder if the younger Mai either has severe memory issues or never even looked at it before.
  • Running Gag -- Mii pointing out Mai's lack of a chest or attractiveness, and Mai promptly (and often physically) reacting.
  • Sadistic Choice -- Downplayed, but still not very nice: the sisters get to choose between continuing their travels, with all the sacrifices that entails, or stay in one specific time period of their choosing, away from each other. They go for the former, but manage to work it out.
  • Say My Name -- Happens on the two occasions people are left behind when the mansion leaps (Ai towards Mai and Mii towards Mea, respectively).
  • Saying Too Much -- In episode 9, Mai almost reveals that she was friends with Konami to her daughter despite being far too young to have known her in this time period, but she manages to catch herself before the damage is done.
  • Scenery Censor -- Unagi is at one point used to block the viewers from seeing Mai's nether regions.
  • School Swimsuit -- Mii wears one in the penultimate episode. As Ai immediately points out, she has no school to attend at the moment.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right -- Mea refuses to let the sisters see Shizuku, even though she is meant to do so, since she does not consider them ready yet. She attempts to stop Keith by fighting him, but is unable to hinder him in the end.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here -- Played for Drama: Mai leaves the others after Shizuku allows them to live in whichever time period they liked the best.
  • Sdrawkcab Name -- Not literally, but the title is formed by splitting the Japanese name for "dandelion" in two and changing the order.
  • Season Fluidity -- A Type 4 Fluid example.
  • Self-Deprecation -- In one of the "On the Next..." segments, Unagi expresses disbelief over the fact that the next episode is a Hot Springs Episode.
  • Sequel Episode -- Episode 9 to episode 2. Konami's daughter, also named Mai, is introduced, and the older Mai tries to befriend her while thinking back to her meeting with Konami. The happy ending of episode 2 also gets savagely subverted.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong -- What the girls end up doing in the final episode when given a chance to remain with the ones they befriended. Even when they finally decide to continue living in the mansion, it all works out, e.g. Konami's daughter Mai now talks fondly of her mother and the girl she was named after instead of being resentful.
  • Sex Dressed -- How the audience knows that Ai and Keith did more than just kiss in episode 7. Well, that and that we clearly see her lying naked on the bed not long afterwards.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot -- Right before Ai and Keith get to know each other better, as it were. It's more tame than most examples in that they only kiss, but judging from the aftermath, it's quite clear what has just happened.
  • Sexy Packaging -- Some versions of the DVDs have alternative covers with the girls in more revealing poses.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit -- Mii's aforementioned dress at the Beauty Contest. Sexualizing Magical Girl dresses is nothing new, but this one is actually based on one from a presumably safe Show Within a Show.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend -- Daichi denies having feelings for Asuka. Regardless of whether he's telling the truth or not, they do end up marrying each other later in life.
  • Shirtless Scene -- Keith is seen shirtless after what is implied to be a late night rendez-vouz with Ai.
  • Shout-Out
    • A static Matrix Raining Code is visible in the background of Mai and Mea's ping-pong match.
    • In the trailer, Mii imitates the MGM Lion.
  • Show Within a Show -- Magical Girl Lilo, Mii's favorite TV series.
  • Shower Scene -- To go with the Furo Scenes.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture -- Ai pulls one (sans the head-hitting) when Mai tells her that they don't have a brother.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids -- Mai tells Mii in episode 11 that she can't simply make new friends whenever they travel to a new location, since she will only end up hurting them and herself when she has to leave.
  • Skyward Scream -- What Mii does when Mai leaves her and Ai.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender -- Mostly because there are only so many males to begin with. Notably, both Daichi and Mii are slammed into the wall by Mai opening the front door in the first episode.
  • Slice of Life -- To begin with, anyway. Later episodes are far more connected.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism -- The series remains idealistic throughout, but does dip a bit lower in some episodes, see Deconstruction and Reconstruction.
  • The Slow Path -- Mai and Mea get stuck doing this for five years when the house departs without them. Mai actually enjoyed the time, making this parting worse than most.
  • Spelling Song -- "S-U-K-I" by Funta, the ending theme.
  • Spoiler Opening -- The opening shows Mea standing with Keith and Shizuku, hinting that they have a connection.
  • Spy Catsuit -- Mea puts one on in episode 10, although she uses it to fight Keith rather than for spying.
  • Squick -- In-universe, Mai is incredibly disturbed by the men watching the Beauty Contest she's currently in. Mostly because they're cheering for Mii.
  • Stand Alone Episode -- Episodes 3 and 4 have the least connections the the show as a whole, and can thus be viewed without much knowledge of what has happened in previous episodes. Episode 8 also counts to an extent, but since Nono and her grandfather (who debut here) appear in episodes 11 and 12, it is required watching to understand what happens later in the series.
  • Stock Footage -- The animation of the mansion slowly dissolving as it time travels is almost always the same. The same goes for whenever Mai is shown on her bike from behind.
  • Stop Helping Me! -- Mii trying to save Mai from her friends is met with this trope, since they're not actually bothering her like Mii thought.
  • Sue Donym -- Keith's made-up name for Ai in order for her to trick adult Daichi? Aya. Quite the imagination he's got there.
  • Suggestive Collision -- A few seconds into their first meeting, Ai trips over her towel and lands on Daichi. Naked. And his head gets stuck.
  • Switching POV -- The first episode is told from Daichi's perspective. All the others focus solely on the sisters and Mea.
  • Sympathy for the Devil -- In the last episode, Ai says that she hopes Keith will someday find a place where he belongs. He is visibly perplexed.
  • Talking in Your Sleep -- Both Ai and Mii do this once:
    • Followed by:
  • Tan Lines -- Mai, after spending most of the day selling ice cream on the beach. It should be obvious by now how the audience finds this out.
  • Team Shot -- The final shot of the opening animation, as well as the final shot of the series itself (both counting and not counting the ending song).
  • Tearful Smile -- Two occasions:
    • Mai in episode 6, when she realizes that she has no choice whatsoever to end her journey then and there.
    • Ai in the last episode, due to the fact that she has to live without her sisters and Mea, since they're in completely different timelines.
  • Tears of Remorse -- Mai, when she realizes that she failed to return to Konami before she died.
  • The Teaser -- While all episodes start with the opening theme song, they also show a bit of the episode before the title card.
  • Thematic Theme Tune -- The opening song does say the name of the show, but it's more about the mysterious nature of the eponymous flowers rather than the sisters searching for them.
  • Theme Tune Cameo -- Mii can be heard humming a slight variation of the opening theme in episode 1.
  • Time Skip -- We only learn about this halfway through the series, but episode 1 takes place in 1970, while episode 7 takes place in 2000 and episode 9 in 2010. Daichi, the little boy the girls meet in the first episode, is grown with a wife (his childhood friend Asuka) and daughter (plus one on the way) in the seventh. The girl Konami, that Mai befriended, never forgets her, with tragic consequences.
  • Time Travel Romance
    • Between Keith and Ai. Subverted in that Keith turns out to not only be that friendly, but also works with Shizuku, and gets to see her again under vastly different circumstances.
    • The anime could be said to mainly be about this, albeit with friendship instead of romance (see The Power of Friendship).
  • Title Drop -- The intertitle has two (sometimes two sets) of characters speaking the title.
  • This Is Unforgivable!/What the Hell, Hero? -- Mai towards herself, in light of Konami's demise.

Mai: An apology won't cut it.

  • Too Good to Last -- In-universe. Mii's favorite show, Magical Girl Lilo, only lasted one season according to a nerd on the beach.
  • Tranquil Fury -- How Ai reacts to Keith's attacks on her friends and family as well as his admittance to not being honest about how much he knew about her. She does slap him, but that's as far as she goes.
  • Twelve-Episode Anime
  • Unlocking the Talent -- Judging from the look on her face, Mii had no idea that she could heal people before she managed to cure her friend Miyuki from her illness. Too bad she goes on to believe she can perform any sort of magic in general.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight -- How other people react to the sisters' mansion appearing and disappearing out of thin air. Nono, for example, is visibly shocked by its appearance (mainly because it lands right next to her shrine while she's taking a bath), but never questions the fact that it could do that in the first place.
  • Unwanted Harem
  • Up to Eleven -- If the lingerie store from episode 3 is to be believed, Ai has a bigger bust than there are bra sizes for... which really calls into question how she managed beforehand.
  • "V" Sign -- Employed by Mai, most notably in her introduction to Daichi.
  • Vague Age -- It's not very clear exactly what age the sisters are. This is especially true in Mii's case, who is apparently old enough to go to school, but not old enough to use proper pronouns.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment -- Mea is seen storing her money made from selling ice cream in her shirt's upper area.
  • Villainous Breakdown -- It's more surprise than outright shock, but Keith is very clearly affected by Ai's Shut UP, Hannibal.
  • Voiceover Letter -- Mai's goodbye-letter from episode 11, complete with a superimposed image of her over the text.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction -- Ai drops her towel before the rest of the family in episode 3. Why this was considered important to animate, only the writers know.
  • Was It All a Lie? -- Ai asks Keith this after he has outed himself as more knowledgable of her quest than he first let on. The answer is "sorta".
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises -- Mai has a tendency to have these, although it's because of extreme anger or surprise instead of fear.
  • Widget Series -- Three sisters time travel along with a Robot Maid and a hondo stoat in a mansion that doubles as a Christmas shop, and little of what is going on is properly explained in the end. It's probably safe to say that the series fits the bill.
  • Wingding Eyes -- Happens to Mii when the younger Mai accidentally runs into her.
  • Wham! Episode -- Three:
    • In episodes 5 and 6, it is revealed just how the time jumping has robbed the three sisters of anything resembling a normal life.
    • In episode 9, it is revealed that Konami died while waiting for Mai to return to her, sending Mai back into her depression.
    • In the latter case, this is preceded by:
  • Wham! Line -- "My mom got sick a while ago", said by Mai (Konami's daughter).
  • What Have I Done -- Mai, when she discovers Konami spent her life mourning their separation and died young.
  • What Happened to Miyuki? -- Mii's friend in episode 3 is not seen or heard from again (excluding her appearance in the final eye catch).
  • What Year Is This? -- Ai and Mii consult a newspaper after being separated from Mai and Mea.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue -- In their preferred time periods, but not for long.
  • White and Grey Morality -- Although the anime has a heavy subject matter, no one is really evil.
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech -- Mii makes one in order to make her sisters stay together and continue travelling after they are presented with the option to go to the time period they enjoyed the most. Sadly, it doesn't work on Mai.
  • The Worf Effect -- Both times Mea, the sisters' guard, takes on Keith, he is able to defeat her with varying levels of ease.
  • World of Cardboard Speech/Shut UP, Hannibal -- Done by Ai towards Keith in the last episode, in a sense.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside -- During The Slow Path episode the girls learn that they can not age should they live away from the mansion and ignore their journey.
  • You Are Not Ready -- Mea's reasoning as to why the sisters should not meet Shizuku in episode 10. She never says it to their faces, but she does say it to Keith when he comes to make them do their final time skip.
  • You Imagined It -- Inverted: Ai, Mai and Mii believe that most of episode 4 was a dream, when it did indeed happen. Whether Mea tells them this is never shown.
  • You Keep Using That Word -- It's a bit hard to tell what the intention was due to the somewhat simple art style, but if Unagi is indeed meant to be a stoat, it's technically a misnomer to call her a ferret (both stoats and ferrets are, however, from the weasel family, Mustelidae). Adding to the confusion is that ferrets can be white, but not with dark tail tips, which Unagi clearly has.

Notes

  1. except the series would then have to be called Raba, which doesn't sound as cute, admittedly